a controversy raging in North America over Israel Apartheid Week (March 1-7
2010). A resolution was passed in the Ontario
Provincial Parliament which was unanimously supported (only 30 MPPs voted) and
declared the comparison of Israel's
treatment of the Palestinians to Apartheid as "odious." To quote an
article in the Toronto Star Canada's largest circulation paper.
In a rare
show of unanimity, Ontario MPPs of all political stripes have banded together
to condemn "Israeli Apartheid Week."
Progressive Conservative MPP Peter Shurman (Thornhill) tabled the motion Thursday to denounce the sixth annual provocative campus event that kicks off next week at universities and colleges in 35 cities around the world.
in the Ontario Legislature send a message. They are about moral suasion,"
said Shurman, adding "it is close to hate speech" to liken democratic
Israel to Apartheid-eraSouth Africa..
Conservative MPP Peter Shurman (Thornhill) was quoted as saying that he wants
"the name changed. It's just wrong" and that his resolution is about
"moral suasion", and that the term Apartheid is "close to hate
speech "hateful" and "odious". He says he wants a
"respectful" debate much more "constructive" than "slinging slurs."
Shurman also argued that the comparison "is also offensive to the
millions of black South Africans oppressed by a racist white regime until the
is interesting to see what South Africans who actually lived under the Apartheid
system have to say about Israel's
treatment of the Palestinians. The natural basis of such kinship between the
policies of Israel and South Africa was apparently recognized by the
virulent supporter of Apartheid and prime minister of South Africa, Hendrik Verwoerd. He
noted in 1961 that Jews "took Israel from the Arabs after the
Arabs had lived there for a thousand years. In that I agree with them, Israel, like South Africa, is an Apartheid
much revered leader of the struggle against racism and Apartheid in South Africa and the first President of the
of South Africa Nelson Mandela
had the following to say on the issue of the Palestinians. To quote journalist
John Pilger, "To Nelson Mandela, justice for the Palestinians is "the
greatest moral issue of our time."
is an excerpt from a speech Nelson Mandela gave on International day of Solidarity
with the Palestinians:
The temptation in our situation is to speak in muffled tones about an issue such as the right of the people of Palestine to a state of their own. We can easily be enticed to read reconciliation and fairness as meaning parity between justice and injustice. Having achieved our own freedom, we can fall into the trap of washing our hands of difficulties that others faces.
Yet we would be less than human if we did so.
It behooves all South Africans, themselves erstwhile beneficiaries of generous international support, to stand up and be counted among those contributing actively to the cause of freedom and justice.
Even during the days of negotiations, our own experience taught us that the pursuit of human fraternity and equality - irrespective of race or religion - should stand at the centre of our peaceful endeavours. The choice is not between freedom and justice, on the one hand, and their opposite, on the other. Peace and prosperity; tranquility and security are only possible if these are enjoyed by all without discrimination.